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SkiGo Rollerski Test

June 21, 2012

What’s in the box?

 

New Wheels

With rollerskiing being one of my prime out of season activities it is probably no surprise at the rate that I get through a pair. Rollerskis tend to last between 1500-2000 km in my experience which means that I usually get through a pair after 9-12 months of hard use. Previously I have had rollerskis from Pro Ski and Swenor and I opted to experiment with SkiGo this time round. 

First Impressions

The model I purchased was the XC Classic Carbon S from SkiGo for lightweights, ie a weight restriction of 75Kg. The same model is also available for pie eaters over 75Kg in weight. On opening the box one is pleasantly surprised by the contents. The skis have a design that is pleasant on the eye, however I doubt that there are too many skiers bothered about that. The skis have a longer stem than both Pro Ski and Swenor and also robust splash guards over the wheels.

Top to bottom: Pro Ski, Swenor, SkiGo

Vital Statistics

Weight wise there isn’t much to separate SkiGo from other skis that I have used previously. With bindings Swenor Fibreglass weight in at 200g heavier per pair. Despite their extra 5cm in length the SkiGo rollerskis weigh in identical to Pro Ski with aluminium stem. In addition to having a longer stem, the SkiGo skis are also noticeably wider by several mm.

Comparison between rollerskis from Pro Ski, Swenor & SkiGo

 The SkiGo wheels have also a noticeable greater diameter and are narrower than Pro Ski yet broader than Swenor. 

Wheel breadth: SkiGo on left, Swenor top right & Pro Ski bottom right

The rolling resistance by hand, ie with no wait applied to ski, is much greater than both Pro Ski & Swenor. The manufacturer states that the rollerskis afford a more ski-like experience presumably due to the overall greater dimensions.

Wheel diameter: SkiGo left, Swenor top right & Pro Ski bottom right

Field Test

The route for the field test was chosen to be through Maridalen and up to Grefsenkollen.  The variety in terrain would yield a good opportunity to test the skis using different techniques. Furthermore, it was absolutely pissing down which would give an added challenge to the test. Not only would aquaplaning and grip issues raise their heads, but both squashed frogs and slugs would be out in force to add extra treachery to the course. Slugs and rollerskis do not mix and the only thing that was missing was autumn leaves and early Winter grit.

Liquid sunshine

Duped Again

For the test I had managed to coerce my old adversity Rune out for a zone 3 session. Rune is a far better double poler than I am, but he promised he would go easy, particularly as I’d warned him about the SkiGo wheels in advance. Due to their extra resistance on spinning the wheels, I’d informed him that the wheels were like Pro Ski, ie C-2.5 as opposed to C-2.  Rune immediately saw through the bullshit within two minutes of rollerskiing out of Brekke as I was able to freewheel away from him and his Swenors down a gentle decline. With this followed accusations that the wheels were in fact C-1.5! This was a big, but pleasant surprise.

The test route: Brekke-Skar-Grefsenkollen

  

Immediate impressions were that the skis were a little clumsy seeing as they were much larger than what I was used to. However, this impression disappeared after about two minutes. Performance-wise the skis were equivalent to both Pro Ski and Swenor whilst double poling. A bonus though is that the extra length and fibre-glass stem affords good insulation against vibration and handles small potholes very well. However, on getting to Låkeberget the lower friction of the SkiGo wheels became more apparent as I left Rune behind on the short downhill, and with that came more C-1.5 cat calls.

Liquid Sunshine Test

On getting to the church ruins at Maridalen the heavens really opened and it started to bucket down. In many areas water was now washing over the roads and was increasing drag. The splash guards were functioning extremely well keeping my boots and ankles dry. However, the rest of me was saturated. I’d been double poling up until this stage and the conditions weren’t giving me much hope of getting up Grefsenkollen, the target for the equipment test. On getting to Skar I opted to try out some double pole with kick on a short incline just to see how treacherous the conditions actually were. I was expecting to slip and not get any grip whatsoever on the kick stride. Surprisingly the wheels gripped the tarmac without any reduction in friction. On the way back out of Skar I intended to attempt to test the braking options on the decline where speeds of 40 kmh are easily reached into the bend at the bottom. I was very wary of speed due to the now dangerous conditions so I began to plough at the top of the decline expecting to mimic Bambi on ice. However, the extra stem length facilitated braking and the fantastic grip from the wheels meant that I was able to make a wide V without fear of slipping across the road. This really was totally unexpected and a positive bonus as Rune became less aggressive on the downhill stretches whilst I was able to rollerski as I would under normal dry conditions.

Acid Test

The way back to Brekke was a real pleasure despite the conditions. The skis afforded increased confidence in the conditions and it was able to go harder than normal without having to resort to double poling. Another positive was revealed up the short ascent to Låkeberget. Diagonal technique worked a dream with good grip and also great directional stability. Despite the extra stem length the rollerskis were actually a joy to perform the diagonal stride with, and as the manufacturer states, actually mimic the feel of diagonal stride on snow.

Test route profile

 The real test was to come as we reached Lachmannsvei and the start of the incline up Grefsenveien. A 200m ascent over 4km in atrocious conditions would not normally be my idea of fun. However, I was keen to see how the new skis would handle a 5-20% incline at various stages of the ascent. Up to this point Rune on Swenor skis had been holding back and keeping in touch with ease. However, from Lachmannsvei it was clear that his grip was suboptimal and I was able to ease away without too much effort, remaining in zone 3. The skis performed exceptionally well and I was able to double pole with kick all the way up to Grefsenkollen without a single slip back, which I would normally have experienced with both Pro Ski and Swenor.  

The Verdict

Overall the skis from SkiGo handled the conditions exceptionally well and far better than anticipated. The rollerskis have a closer feel to skiing on snow with both diagonal stride and double pole with kick. No discernible difference was experienced double poling, though rolling resistance was slightly less downhill. The wheels handled the wet conditions well and even on steep hills did not slip. Furthermore, the extra stem length gave good directional stability and also facilitated ploughing. The skis can be highly recommended, particularly for beginners. The extra stability and ease of braking, particularly in wet conditions, should give a real confident boost to experienced skiers who are new to rollerskiing. For experienced rollerskiers the skis are still recommended, though the benefits are reduced somewhat due to greater efficiencies in technique. However, the rollerskis give a closer feel to skiing on snow when not double poling. Sprint ace Johan Kjølstad has used the same model over the last few weeks and is also impressed with their handling. Well recommended!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Jon permalink
    March 6, 2013 15:25

    Thanks for the helpful review.

    Could you say a little more about differences in rolling resistance. Was there ever a time where the faster wheels on the Ski-Go made it hard to practice diagonal stride, for example, where your partner was able to?

  2. March 6, 2013 16:41

    Hi Jon

    Rune is a beast at double poling and only went over to diagonal on the steep inclines so this wasn’t noticeable. I have performed diagonal on the flat with “over speed”, i.e. should have changed up a gear, without any problems. The lengthy stem affords increased stability and negates the kind of wobble I used to get with my Pro Ski skis.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Jon permalink
    March 7, 2013 01:43

    Thanks for quick and informative reply. Hope you don’t mind one more….

    I’m looking for a very slow ski (so I can comfortably diagonal as much as possible and get best training effect) with as much vibration dampening as possible. (Swenor is now offering a super slow #3 wheel, so I’m tempted by that.)

    Could you give a sense of if there’s a huge difference in terms of vibration dampening between the Swenor’s and the Ski-Go’s? Also, you seem to indicate that Ski-Go’s offer more of an on-snow feel–again, is that a huge difference or just somewhat noticeable?

  4. March 8, 2013 21:10

    For vibration dampening Skigo was by far superior and tackled potholes and uneven surfaces remarkably well. The wheels and increased grip/friction also made it easy to perform diagonal even in the wet/pouring rain. I don’t think there is much difference in rolling resistance between Swenor & Skigo on the flat, but on a freewheel on a gentle slope there was a noticeable difference, if only slight. Swenor is definitely a good rollerski. However, the extra length of the Skigo stem makes diagonal stride more natural in my view. In either case you don’t get the wobble that can often come with an aluminium stem in my experience.

    I have no experience of the C3 wheels. I have used Pro Ski with the Vario system which allows one to vary resistance. I found the Vario system to be invaluable as a beginner, but feel I have developed the necessary balance & technique and have moved away from it.

    For development of diagonal technique hills are a must with rollerskis. I have found skate rollerskis to be highly beneficial in developing balance and allows one to glide longer on each ski. This can be readily transferred to classic technique. Also rollerskiing without poles is also very effective, even if it seems weird at first. If you try this I would recommend the use of wrist protectors. Although a spill may be unlikely you wouldn’t want to risk a fall, by e,g, hitting a pot hole, which could potentially have lasting affects and wreck the ski season.

    Good luck! Would be interested to hear how you get on.

    • Jon permalink
      March 10, 2013 12:50

      Hugely helpful. Thanks again.

      (I’m toying with idea of getting Ski-Go’s and, if need be, trying to stick a V2 910 wheel on to slow them down)

      • March 11, 2013 15:11

        I didn’t experience much noticeable rolling resistance on the flat between Skigo & Swenor. It was only downhill that Skigo had a discernible difference

  5. Pete Story permalink
    April 21, 2013 19:26

    Hi! I came across your test while vaguely thinking about starting to roller ski. Like you, I’m an Englishman in Norway, in fact I’ve lived here for over 30 years. I made the move to skating as I turned 60, got hooked, and am now thinking about beginning with roller skis to be able to skate in the summer. Outside of Norway the Jenex V2 series seems to be pretty popular, and I can’t figure out why they don’t seem to have made it to Norway. Do you have an opinion about the V2s for a beginner (and physically if not mentally aging) rollerskier? Or would you recommend something else?

    • Jon permalink
      April 22, 2013 23:57

      Pete: For what it’s worth, I have a ton of experience with V2. They also have composite shaft skis that are reported to be similar to SkiGo, but with only one stiffness available (seem geared ideally to someone around 175 pounds).

      For a beginner, it’s hard to beat the advantages of speed reducers and brakes that V2 offers…

  6. April 22, 2013 20:24

    Hi Pete

    Not much experience here I’m afraid. I started skate rollerskiing 2 years ago and use the Swenor Skate with aluminium frame. They’re a robust piece of kit, but I do not have anything to compare them with.Never come across Jenex V2 before, but then I guess they are aimed at the US market. Quite like the sound of the pneumatic wheel option which could be good for off-road. A number of people I talk to about skate rollerskis swear by the Finnish make Marwe. There’s a blog at fastskier.com that also recommends them: http://blogs.fasterskier.com/uaf/2008/09/24/the-best-rollerski-brand/

    An Englishman on rollerskis is a not too common site. If you’re base in Oslo an easy place to practice technique is Fornebu. There’s little traffic and the tarmac is of good quality. I tend to take my son here to train. Otherwise you’ll find me out in Sørkedalen, Maridalen & Lommedalen.

    • Pete Story permalink
      April 22, 2013 21:59

      Thanks for the rapid reply! This evening’s research had already confirmed what you say about Marwe. You might be interested in the roller ski reviews here http://www.skisport.no/attachments/631_Alt%20om%20aarets%20rulleski%20-2011-web.pdf
      where they think that the Swenor models have slippery wheels in the wet, which is not good for a beginner, I think. I’m not sure that I’m going to risk my health on this idea at all, but it looks like Marwe if I do. They are rather cheaper in UK, at http://roller-skis.co.uk/ if you happen to be back there.
      I’m based in Kongsberg – where there will soon be a new rollerski track at the Heistadmoen stadium🙂

  7. Pete Story permalink
    July 2, 2013 20:59

    Thought I’d just log a quick update on this, in case anybody else hits it during similar research. I bought Jenex V2 XL150S in the end, from UK, and am very pleased with my choice.
    Since I’ve never used any other roller ski I can’t compare, but I think the XL150S might be regarded as “turski” if we were talking snow. I spent an hour practising in a flat car park, and the next trip was 10km on a local flat back road. A couple of crashes, but by the end I had got the hang of it. Now I can leave directly from my house and descend fairly significant hills on quite normal roads with no problems.
    The retarders are easy to apply while rolling and slow things down nicely, and the brake really does allow me to stop – no sweat coming downhill to a T junction. The only tricky situation is stopping on a downhill curve, because as soon as you step to turn the braking effect is gone, but with a little forward planning that’s no problem.
    I’ve used them a couple of times up to our cabin on Blefjell – tarmac surface most of the way so great uphill training. The last 2km are standard Norwegian mountain road, and doable on these skis, if not exactly great fun – ok where the road had compacted, but difficult where there was lots of gravel.
    Again for reference, I bought the specially adapted pump, which was a good idea – using a normal bike pump would be tricky. I run the tyres at about 65psi, though I understand you can pump them all the way to 90 to get more speed.

  8. Remi permalink
    July 27, 2015 21:53

    Hi,

    I stumbled onto your review when googling skigo, which are offered as a package by roller-skis.com. I am a Frenchman in England, who used to go ski mountaineering before becoming a dad 4 years ago. I am looking for a low impact workout similar to the skiing up mountains I used to do. I am lucky enough to live within running distance of a 2km long rowing lake with wide tarmacked access path around it (holme-pierrepont).

    Thank you for your detailed review. I get the impression that the longer and wider skigo would suit my needs better than the swenor or marwe that are offered as a packaged by rollerski.co.uk.

    All advice gladly received🙂

    • July 27, 2015 22:01

      I have no experience with Marwe, although a few of my training colleagues swear by their skate rollerskis. Since I wrote this review many new models have come on to the market. I haven’t prioritised rollerskiing the last couple of yeaars due to injury so haven’t been able to test any of them. I don’t think you could go wrong with Skigo or Swenor. Best of luck. Would be pleased to hear of your experiences

    • Jon permalink
      July 28, 2015 13:26

      I don’t think it’s possible to get much of a workout with Ski-Go’s doing diagonal stride on the flats. They came out with slow wheels, but they’re so slow that if you use 2 on one ski, you can only really double pole, and if you split the wheels (one normal, one slow), I still found the speed to be a little too fast (so on the flats, it’s like biking with a strong tailwind)

  9. Remi permalink
    July 28, 2015 17:22

    Jon, Engelski, thank you for your quick answers.

    My knees felt more strain when I tried skating than with the classic ski touring/diagonal, or with the ski mountaineering ascending with skins.

    There is another point that might sway me towards swenor: I am over the weight limit for skigo: my fit weight is 80kg, but right now i’m closer to 90kg. How much of a problem do you think this could be?

    • July 28, 2015 22:26

      Skigo do rollerskis for >75Kg. However, if you can’t get them then maybe Swenor is your other option. I suspect that the knee issue can be resolved with focus on technique. I have very dodgy knees, but since I resolved my technique knees have been fine.

      • July 29, 2015 06:14

        I agree about knees and technique. After a lifetime of running my knees have started complaining and that was actually the motive for trying skate rollerskis in the summer. The trick is keeping the skis flat. Once you’ve realized that skating is all about weight transfer and keep the one rolling ski flat then there’s very little knee strain or shock. My Jenex Aero V2 skate skis are also knee-friendly because I can brake without twisting my knees in a “plough”

      • July 29, 2015 06:33

        I agree about skating technique and knees. My motive for starting skate rollerskiing in the summer was precisely that my knees were complaining after a lifetime of running. Once you realize that skating is about transferring all the weight to one ski, and keeping that ski flat, not tilted, then the knee strain is gone and the skating movement contains very little shock. I still like my Jenex Aero V2 skate skis – and the brakes mean that I don’t have to struggle with a knee-stressful “plough” technique downhill.

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